While the site has plenty of legal uses it is also a thorn in the side of many copyright holders, due to the frequent appearance of pirated content.
This pirate stigma most recently resulted in a mention on the US Government’s list of “Notorious Markets”.
While the site has been spared from any legal action, that we know of, it suffered a major setback this week. As of a few hours ago the site’s main Openload.co domain is no longer responsive.
Instead of the regular homepage featuring the browser uploader, users see an error message in their browser, explaining that the site’s IP-address can’t be found.
The error message is the result of missing DNS entries, which is also apparent from the ‘serverHold’ status message in the domain’s Whois details.
According to ICANN, the serverHold domain status is uncommon and “usually enacted during legal disputes, non-payment, or when your domain is subject to deletion.”
This status is set by the domain registrar, which is Tucows in this case, and renders the domain inaccessible.
It’s unclear why this action was taken. We’ve reached out to Tucows but the company didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Interestingly, Malwarebytes currently blocks the Openload.co domain name because it may contain a Trojan. Whether that’s related to the broader domain issue is unknown.
Openload hasn’t made any public statement on the issue, as far as we know. However, it is worth noting that the site’s official status page is unreachable as well. The status page downtime is not tied to a domain problem but appears to be server related.
This isn’t the first time Openload has had a domain name suspended. The same happened in 2016, when domain registrar Namecheap presumably took action after “too many DMCA complaints.”
Openload was eventually able to regain control over the domain and Namecheap publicly admitted that its legal team “was too heavy handed,” adding that Openload should be fine as long as they properly respond to DMCA notices.
Openload is believed to have some backup domains. Oload.stream and Oload.life are working alternatives that serve the same content, it seems, but we were unable to confirm 100% that these are official.
Update June 20: Openload regained control over its domain name. The ‘serverHold’ status was lifted after a day. There are no further details on the Openload.co website that explain what happened.